We thought that this would be of interest to our viewers who do not necessarily have access to the ICON magazine. This is an article in the current issue 51.
These pages have often sung the praises of the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and its mammoth undertaking of recording all the oil paintings in public ownership (see www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/). Now the PCF is turning its attention to sculpture and has just signed a partnership agreement with the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA) to collaborate on a project to digitise public sculpture across the UK.
The two charities will work together to create one comprehensive, searchable, digital database of sculpture in the UK from the eleventh century onwards, which will be freely available to the public online. The project – which will be subject to funding – will be entitled ‘Your Sculpture’.
The PMSA champions sculpture nationwide and, amongst its many activities (which include helping to set up the Fourth Plinth Project in Trafalgar Square), one key initiative is the National Recording Project (NRP). Set up in 1997, this is a survey of outdoor post-medieval British public sculpture and monuments, undertaken together with many cultural and academic institutions, which has created a unique online database of over 10,000 entries.
In this new partnership the PMSA will build on that expertise to take responsibility for outdoor sculpture in the public realm. While the PCF will have responsibility for indoor sculpture in public museums and public collections.
Funding permitting, the digitisation project is expected to take about four years to complete. There will be a heavy emphasis on education, involving schoolchildren and students, and attracting and engaging with new audiences from a wide spectrum of the population.